A Gay Man Speaks Out on HIV and Sex Today
Cass Mann is one of the world's longest-term HIV-positive diagnosed gay men, now in his third decade of living with HIV, and the founder of UKâs only gay menâs HIV/AIDS charity Positively Healthy, which provides HIV services including education, support, and peer counselling. Here he talks about the realities of HIV in the gay community today. Any gay man becoming HIV positive in the United Kingdom today has at some level made a decision that it was OK if they contracted HIV, because we know how to prevent the transmission of HIV and if a man applies that knowledge it's extremely unlikely he'll contract HIV. Barebacking sounds romantic, but unprotected sex is slow suicide. It's choosing to take a risk each time of needlessly contracting HIV, which can kill you, as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Parks, dark rooms and back rooms promote anonymous, unprotected, robotic sex. In the dark, you can't see skin rashes and blemishes, weeping or solid genital sores and warts that would make you aware that a potential partner has an STI. There's a high level of illegal drug use in the gay community today, and this increases the risk that people will choose to have unprotected sex while under the influence of these drugs. If you respect yourself, you'll use a condom every time. Some young gay men feel like life will end for them at forty and therefore don't worry about contracting a disease that can kill them by forty. If you have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive or whose status you don't know, you are having sex with your potential killer. HIV positive people need to practice safer sex too to avoid the risks like superinfection and co-infection. Protect yourself and your partner each and every time you have sex, whether or not you are already HIV positive! When you have sex, Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware!). For more information, visit http://www.posh-uk.org.uk/ and http://www.AIDSvideos.org/.